The Complete Guide That Makes Washing Sneakers Simple

Are you a proud sneakerhead?

Then you understand that keeping sneakers clean is an important part of owning them. The dirt and grime that get on sneakers can be difficult to remove, but it’s not impossible. 

Thankfully, there are several simple ways you can wash your shoes in the comfort of your own home. To help you out, we’ve created this short guide full of the best tips for washing sneakers.


What’s the right way to wash your sneakers? Read on to find out!


Preparing Your Sneakers

The first step in washing sneakers is to prepare your cleaning station. We suggest you find a clean sink or container. Then fill the basin with cool water and add about 2 tablespoons of dishwashing detergent to the water. 

For the best results, we suggest using a mild detergent, like these. Gentle detergents are great at getting rid of stains, without damaging the shoe materials. Make sure not to use too much soap, no matter what type it is, as it may damage the shoes.

Gently, place the sneakers in the basin and let them sit for 5 minutes before scrubbing them gently. Next, use a toothbrush to scrub the dirty areas specifically (e.g., inside of soles). 

Rinse thoroughly by turning off taps and moving sneakers around. Keep rinsing until bubbles stop forming on their surface. Gently remove from soapy water using your hands too. 

Now, place the sneakers on a large, wet towel. This towel should be large enough to wrap around the entire sneaker.

Machine Wash Sneakers

Moving on, put the sneakers in the washing machine with warm water and detergent. Set the washing machine cycle for hand wash or delicates. Your sneakers will be gently cleaned by moving against each other, as well as the soft towel. This will help to remove excess dirt from the shoes.

Now you can wipe away any detergent residue with a clean cloth and let them air-dry at room temperature. Be sure to store the sneakers in a clean nook or box to prevent dust from settling on the shoes.

You can use the machine washing method for cleaning all types of supreme shoes. From leather shoes to canvas, and even textile shoes. It is best to first test this method on other similar-looking items to make sure there is no damage involved.

snap with shoe

Shoe Cleaning Products

Next, a shoe cleaning product designed for cleaning sneakers should never be used on leather shoes. It might help to clean the fabric portion of the shoe but could damage the other areas. 

To avoid damaging your leather shoes, you can buy a leather cleaner and apply some cream or liquid with a sponge on small areas at first. Next, let the leather sneakers air dry. If the shoes are made of suede or nubuck, you should clean them with a suede cleaner to avoid damaging the material.

Don’t Wait to Clean Sneakers

Keep in mind that sneakers should be cleaned as soon as they get dirty. If you don’t wash them at this time, it will be much harder to remove the dirt and stains later on.

You can use a dry towel to remove most of the dirt from your shoes. However, when it comes to stains and stubborn dirt marks, you will need something stronger than that.

Water and Vinegar Method

One of the most effective methods for removing stains from sneakers is to use a mixture of water and white vinegar. Mix one part distilled white vinegar with 3 parts water, then apply it to your shoes using a sponge. 

Air dry sneakers before wiping off the mixture. Repeat if necessary. Another option is to use an old toothbrush or sneaker cleaner brush, to scrub the stain and dirt off of your shoes.

Sitting on wall with outdoor shoe

Use Sneaker Soap

If you need a powerful cleaning product for sneakers that will eliminate any trace of dirt or stains, try using a “sneaker soap”. Sneaker soap recipes specifically address tough stains. Make sure not to apply too much pressure on your sneakers while washing them; this may damage the shoe’s material.

If you have a pair of sneakers that seems particularly dirty, it is best to wash them separately from other items in the washing machine. Wash them with an equal mixture of water and vinegar. After every 5–7 cycles, throw in some laundry detergent to clean off the dirt which has accumulated during the process. Remember to rinse your shoes after each addition of detergent.

Cleaning Suede Sneakers

Do you have a pair of sleek suede sneakers? To clean suede shoes or boots, you can use a suede cleaner. The water and vinegar mixture will work well too. Simply apply your preferred cleaner, after gently brushing the shoes off.

Afterward, use an old toothbrush or nail brush to scrub off all dirt and stains. For particularly stubborn dirt, you can add some laundry detergent to the mix. Then scrub the shoes gently with a lint-free cloth.

Canvas Shoes and Nubuck Sneakers

Next, canvas or nubuck sneakers should be cleaned using a brush and water. Remember that there is no point in cleaning these two materials by yourself if they are already dirty. It would be best to do this after going running or playing sports. 

Avoid using water that is too hot. This could cause some materials to melt (such as synthetic materials) and other more delicate parts of the shoe can be damaged by high heat.

Cleaning Oil and Grease

If your sneakers have been exposed to oil or grease (e.g. when working in a kitchen), you should clean your shoes immediately. You can do this by using soap and water to remove any excess grease. 

Next, wipe off the area with a paper towel before rinsing it out using clear water. Make sure there are no traces of soap or rinsing water left on your sneakers, otherwise they will become sticky.

You can also use a mixture of water and vinegar to clean sneakers when exposed to grease or oil. Again, you should avoid using too much force in scrubbing them, as this could ruin the materials.

Start Washing Sneakers the Right Way

There you have it! The best tips for clean sneakers, no matter what the material is. As you can see, washing sneakers is a simple process that can be done in your home. Make sure to follow the instructions on how to wash different types of shoes and materials carefully, as this will help protect them from damage. 

You should also try using sneaker soap for more stubborn dirt or stains.  Are you ready for more helpful advice? Take a minute to explore the rest of our site.

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